Today our thoughts are with all those who have mothered us. Whether that mothering has been from birth and has sustained us throughout our lives or perhaps that mothering has been someone who has cared for us – who wasn’t our birth mother, who showed us affection and care and who enabled us to grow into people we are today.
I am aware that many people have not seen their mum during this year, and some have been bereaved of their Mum in the last 12 months.
My sister this week visited mum for the first time in a year. We had seen pictures of her, in her Christmas jumper but now this time my sister Kate could go in and visit.
Mums got dementia, mum probably wouldn’t recognise me now or know my name, but I think she would recognise my voice.
Kate took a picture for me and in comparison, for the Christmas Picture – a frail old lady who will be 94 next week. The spark of life had gone from her eyes and I am left considering her mortality and the phrase that springs to mind are words of Jesus “well done good and faithful servant “
For my mum she was the wife of a vicar and her life was the church. she served as mothers union leader in the parish for 37 years. If anyone was mother Church it was my mum, supporting dad in his ministry.
Today as we think of those who have mothered us, cared for us, nurtured us, we think also of the church.
Mothering Sunday is about the church we belong to, the church that cares for us from the cradle to the grave.
The church that disciplines us, inspires us and guides us so today we are thankful for mother church.
Whilst humanly we are born in birth waters so too, we are spiritually reborn in the waters of baptism and from that point we are members of the family of God.
During this Lent I have been talking about how we are to grow in our devotion through the season of Lent and today’s first reading gives us guidance and direction as the family of God
Saint Paul writes to the early church and wants them to change their behaviour so that it is honouring to God.
In verse 12 he says “therefore as Gods chosen people, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
These our characteristics which we should be living in each day, but just as a mother encourages a child and redirects their focus so the church redirects our attitudes.
Paul likens it to putting on clothes,
Clothe yourself in compassion, kindness, humility gentleness and patience.
I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded of this, for in the stress of life, in the weariness of lockdown these are virtues we need to daily work on.
Saint Paul then talks about our relations with another in verse 13 “bear with one another and forgive one another, if any of you has a grievance against someone forgive as the Lord forgave you.
In the church family we are to be a body of people who bears with one another, they say you can’t choose your family but as a family of God we can choose how we behave. Ultimately that behaviour is to be in love. For love as Paul says binds us all together in perfect unity.
On a day that we express thankfulness to our mothers and those who have mothered us – we are reminded by Saint Paul to be thankful in all things.
We are privileged to know the gospel; we can decide how to live our lives in the light of its teaching.
Paul gives some further advice in verse 16 “let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one other with all wisdom, through Psalms, hymns and songs from the spirit, sing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
The life of the church is to be one of encouragement and direction sought from the word and the Spirit. Giving us potential to honour God in all things, we can be steadfast in our faith.
So that when we come to our journeys end on this earth – people would say of us “well done good and faithful servant”.
That we have served the life of the church, we have passed on the light of faith to the next generation and participated in encouraging others to grow in faith.
We have enabled the congregation of God to be alive and vibrant in our generation.
On the day we give thanks for those that mothered us as well as our human mothers, we thank God also for mother church caring for us from the cradle to the grave and the encouragement we receive in our life of faith so that we too can hear those words
Well done, good and faithful servant.